Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On The Couch: Holy Macaroon! It's Ginny Weasley.

Daily Mail
There'll be a line of boys stretching down the street to buy her a butterbeer. Yes, this really is 20-year-old Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films on the cover of Haute Muse magazine. And I have to say, she looks positively spellbinding.

Something I Never Thought About Before Today: What You Wear Down There When You Exercise.

Women's Health

 Cotton briefs, a G-string, commando... Does it matter? I never thought so. Then I read this, and now I'm not so sure.

The combination of heat, sweat, and friction in your nether regions is not only uncomfortable, it can be unhealthy. Tight and nonbreathable clothing traps heat and moisture, which can encourage the growth of candida, and lead to an unbearable yeast infection. That's not the only thing you have to worry about. When bacteria travels from back to front, it increases your risk for contracting an uncomfortable urinary tract infection (UTI) as well. These can both be prevented if you pay special attention to what you wear below the waist.

Sheesh! So what's the winner? Well it seems moisture-wicking undies like these Berlei Sports Boy-legs come up trumps and breathable cotton is the next best thing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On The Couch: Super 8.

What's the story? Thirteen-year-old Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his group of mates are budding film-makers – Zombie movies are their genre of choice. And when they successfully rope in Alice (Elle Fanning) to be their leading lady, there's a little extra bounce in Joe's step as he skips out of the house after dark to film scenes at a local railway station. But Joe and Alice's chance at romance is interrupted when they witness a train crash outside the station. After that night, the event is shrouded in mystery. What was on the train? Why is the Air Force suddenly sweeping their sleepy town? And what's with all the missing people? 

Why it's worth paying $17.80 to see... Between the alien attacking, the Air Force's weaponry going rogue and the blossoming relationship between Joe and Alice, there isn't really a dull moment in this flick. The kids (brilliantly cast) lighten up the story line, and while it's not really scary, there are no shortage of jumpy moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. With director JJ Abrams (who also directed Lost, Alias and Cloverfield) and producer Steven Spielberg at the helm, you can be sure this film is 112 minutes of solid entertainment. 

Oh, and if you see the flick and instantly just fall in love with Elle Fanning (yep, she's Dakota's little sis) like I did, check out this stunning shoot she did for Marie Claire magazine.

Gyms Might Not Make You Skinny. But Exercising Will Make You Fitter. And Healthier.

 I read an article in the Sunday Life magazine on the weekend that made me just a little bit mad. No, make that a lot mad. It asked, "Is The Gym Making Us Fatter?" Yep, forget the growing prevalence of processed food and our increased sedentary lifestyles – Jacqueline Maley has found the real culprit behind Australia's obesity epidemic: gyms.
"I also happen to truly believe [gyms] are useless and stupid; overpriced temples to vanity. Their confusing machines, their hordes of dead-eyed trainers and their upbeat insistence on the mind-body connection have done nothing to stem the nation's obesity epidemic. As gym membership has grown, so has our collective waistline."
Gym's won't make you skinny, says Jacqueline. Well, lets all revoke our memberships. Because the only reason anyone would ever go to a gym is to look like Heidi Klum, right? Nobody goes to improve their health and wellbeing.
Weight loss is not a magic formula. It is basic math. What you put in your mouth minus what you burn. And it's true that exercise alone will only do so much – a lot of weight loss is nutrition. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't join a gym or go for a run around the local oval. Because the benefits of regular exercise don't stop at weight loss. It's important to strengthen your bones and muscles with resistance training and it's important to get your heart-rate up and move your body when you've been sitting down in an office all day. 
I don't think that "anyone who runs on a treadmill instead of outdoors needs their head examined" – I think that anyone who cares enough about their bodies to fit in exercise wherever and whenever they can is smart. They might not have the perfect body, but you'll probably find they've got better bone and muscular strength, lower blood pressure, better sleep patterns and anxiety levels, and all-round better sense of wellbeing than their couch-loving counterparts.
I've seen people literally change their lives since they joined gyms. I've seen my own life change since I became a regular gym-goer – my treadmill routine unaffected by bad weather or dark nights. But if that means I need my "head examined", go for it Jacqueline - because I'm in a better head space now than I ever was pre-gym.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yes, I'm Obsessed With Carrie Underwood.

Women's Health

I've got her new album Play On literally playing on repeat at the moment. But even if you're not a fan of her catchy country tunes, you might get something from this interview with Women's Health I dug up from the archives... 

When we catch up with Carrie a few weeks later, she's on the road again. Touring in more than 100 cities, she admits, can be tough. "I sleep with a light on in the bathroom so I can see where I'm at, because I wake up and have no clue!" Adhering to a disciplined lifestyle helps. "I'm very health conscious," she says, explaining that exercise and good nutrition aren't luxuries, but imperatives that pay dividends. "This whole tour, I haven't been sick once, and I think it's from taking care of myself."

Sticking to a fitness routine is actually easier while touring, thanks to the structured schedule. "Some weeks I'm super-duper busy, so I can only fit cardio in here and there," she says. On the road, however, "a lot of stuff happens in the afternoon, so I can get up and have a workout, which makes me feel awesome for the rest of my day." Plus, "there's just something sexy about feeling strong," she says. Carrie averages four to six morning sessions with her tour trainer, Eve Overland, each week. "And every night I'm onstage, I get another workout," she says.

Squeezing in sessions sometimes requires improvisation. "This morning I was told the equipment at the hotel gym was old and dangerous!" she says. "So we moved the furniture back and did squats, lunges, and crunches." During a stop in Florida, "we did a beach workout, running on sand, which is hard!"

When she's back in Nashville, Carrie hits her home gym, which has an elliptical machine, a bike, an abs ball, and free weights. She also uses kettlebells ("They don't take up much space and work a lot of different muscles"). Cardio workouts, like boxing and jumping rope, are her faves because "the endorphins make me feel good."
So does feeding her body healthy food. Though she grew up on a farm in Oklahoma "where everybody eats every kind of meat there is," Carrie became a vegetarian at 13. "Animals were my pets, and the thought of eating my pets freaked me out."

Carrie hits the local Whole Foods Market or farmers' market when she's on tour, and keeps a diary of what she eats. "Once you get into a routine of eating healthy, it hurts twice as much when you fall off the wagon," she says. "But it's nice to have a few bites of something you like. I'm not a sweets person, but I love pasta and pizza—oh, buddy!"

Scary Trend: Super-Skinny Pregnant Stars.

Daily Mail
In the same week that I gave Pink a massive virtual high-five for daring to venture out in front of the paparazzi days after giving birth looking, well, exactly like most women do post-birth, the New York Post highlighted a scary new trend where real-life "mummyrexics" are going to extremes to stay skinny while they're expecting.

“[Victoria] Beckham’s in her eighth month now, and looking too thin continues to be part of [her] plan — healthy or not,” says Lisa Cohn, a registered dietitian in Manhattan. “She hasn’t been looking as vibrant — pale face, dull eyes and more drained. If [Beckham’s] extreme post-baby weight-loss plan of shedding 20 pounds in a short period is true, it sends a dangerous message to other women out there.”

Indeed, the A-list trend of gaining a scant amount of weight during pregnancy has led to a similar psychosis among pregnant alpha women in NYC. Call them the mommyrexics — a breed of new moms who are pressuring themselves to bounce back to fighting weight days after they’ve left the hospital. Squeezing into maternity Spanx after having a baby isn’t good enough. These moms want to starve and jog themselves skinny if it kills them.

It's a fact that not all women enjoy being pregnant. That's okay. Jessica Alba has been very vocal about the fact that she didn't feel sexy while she was carrying her first child. But I'm glad that Pink is stepping up and showing women that you don't have to magically lose the weight you gain overnight like so many celebs do. As Mia Freedman said last week, these pis of Pink are "a beautiful reminder of how the human body looks after giving birth AND IT’S OK."